Another high or another low?

Tennessee's basketball team rarely has played better than it did in last Wednesday's 89-65 drubbing of Georgia. Conversely, Tennessee rarely has played worse than it did three days later in a 95-57 loss at Florida.

As a result, head coach Buzz Peterson experienced a week that began with a remarkable high and ended with a gut-wrenching low.

''I don't know if I've quite had that kind of week before,'' he said this week. ''I was sky-high Wednesday night and Thursday. Then, all of a sudden, Saturday afternoon, you're as low as you've ever been.''

Peterson was so concerned by the dramatic turn of events that he sought the advice of former Vol football coach/athletics director Doug Dickey.

''We had a good conversation about it,'' Peterson said.

So, what was Dickey's advice?

''You've got to keep things in the middle,'' Peterson said. ''You can't get too high and you can't get too low.''

The question is: Which end of the spectrum will he and his team experience when they return to action tonight against visiting Vanderbilt? Will the performance and mood be as pleasant as it was against Georgia or will the Vols hit another low, as they did against Florida?

Peterson doesn't know the answer to that question but he doesn't plan to spend any more time reliving last week's emotional roller-coaster.

''I don't want to dwell on one game or one week,'' he said. ''You've got to look at the whole picture -- having a successful SEC run and getting into the NCAA Tournament.''

If the Vols are to entertain dreams of an NCAA bid, they'd better win tonight. Following the Commdores, Tennessee's next seven games are at South Carolina (14-2), Kentucky (11-1), Louisville (9-1), at Mississippi State (13-1), Florida (11-2), at LSU (11-1) and Georgia Tech (12-1). The Vols likely will be underdogs in all seven of those games.


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